For thousands of years, humans have studied trees to learn how they too can provide suitable housing for squirrels and grow lemons from their fingertips. Join the pursuit of leafy progress with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get one ticket to a twilight garden tour and holiday open house at The Kampong (up to a $40 value). Children younger than 10 are admitted for $10. Choose between the following dates:
- Saturday, December 10 from 4 to 6 p.m.
- Sunday, December 11 from 4 to 6 p.m.
The Kampong regularly hosts an array of lectures, events, and tours on an 11-acre landscape that cradles a bouquet of exotic plants and tropical fruit bearers. During late-afternoon hours, visitors explore the garden’s plant menagerie as fleeting bits of sunlight bring out the leafy inhabitants' lively hues and temporary tattoos. The one-hour twilight tour departs at 4:15 p.m. and introduces guests to 0.75 miles of tropical flora, including cocoplum trees and more than 50 mango varieties. Knowledgeable guides lead groups throughout the leafy labyrinth while providing interesting history on the garden and its attached estate, or guests can brave the gardens on their own for solo exploration. After the tour, guests are invited to enjoy holiday refreshments and music while admiring the view of Biscayne Bay and singing call-and-response carols with orchids.
After changing hands many times between 1882 and 1916, the property that would eventually be known as The Kampong—which means "village" in Malay—was snatched up by David Fairchild and his wife Marian, a daughter of Alexander Graham Bell. Fairchild was one of the most influential horticulturists in the United States, devoting his life to plant exploration and finding new strains of flora suitable for introduction to the states. Though he and his wife spent much of their time in Washington DC until 1928, The Kampong became an "introduction garden" for many of the plants he collected during his travels.
After constructing a house on the garden property in 1928, the Fairchilds made Miami their permanent home, and they were eventually were joined by Marian's sister and her husband on the adjoining property. Today, as part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, most of the adjoining property has been absorbed to be part of The Kampong, creating more than 11 acres of verdant gardens. Inside the leafy labyrinth, many of the experimental plants still thrive, including an 80-year-old baobab tree, more than 50 mango varieties.